A Proposal to Adopt Outcomes Goals 
for Information Literacy
at Philadelphia University

Information Literacy Outcomes for Philadelphia University Students  
Background Statement
ACRL Standards
Sample Competencies by Class Standing

Information Literacy will soon become an element examined by academic accreditation teams in the United States.  To be effective in our goal of graduating technologically adept students with effective research skills, Philadelphia University needs to plan for ways to integrate Information Literacy objectives into existing curricula. The adoption of these outcomes goals will provide a tool to open dialogue between Faculty, Administrators, and Librarians towards this end. After adoption of the goals, Schools will be asked to propose an implementation plan that takes into account School specific needs. These proposals will be taken up by the University Curriculum Committee and appropriate faculty development plans and implementation methods will be adopted.

The Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable proposes that the University Curriculum Committee adopt the following series of information literacy goals.   The goals are proposed as a series of outcomes statements as follows:

Information Literacy Outcomes for Philadelphia University Students

Four outcomes have been identified:

Outcome 1: Students will be able to identify and articulate their information needs.

Outcome 2: Students will develop a knowledge base regarding the major formats, delivery mechanisms, and organizational structure of information resources.

Outcome 3: Using this knowledge base, students will be able to identify and apply the resources and tools that are most appropriate for specific information problems.

Outcome 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and ethically apply information.  

Background Statement

Presently, faculty are teaching research skills and information literacy across the disciplines.  However in an effort to make this a more structural and institutional focus and to ensure that all students graduate with a specific set of competencies and skills we need to embed these skills and competencies into existing curricula.  We need to establish a programmatic focus on information literacy at Philadelphia University. 

Technological literacy—the ability to use the tools that store, access, retrieve, and manipulate information—is a component of Information Literacy, but no longer viewed as a separate “literacy” in itself. Information Literacy encompasses and employs technological literacy.

Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards

In January 2000, The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) published five Standards pertaining to the definition of an information literate student. The Standards have been adopted as guidelines at several institutions that are, like Philadelphia University, beginning to construct campus-wide information literacy initiatives. 

The Standards state:

  1. The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
  2. The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
  3. The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  4. The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  5. The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Each Standard lists associated Performance Indicators and Outcomes. The full text of the Standards, Performance Indicators and Outcomes is available online at http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/informationliteracycompetency.htm


Sample Competencies

Listed below are examples of the types of information literacy competencies suggested by the  Association of College and Research Libraries. The sample competencies are arranged by class standing. We expect that discussion will take place in each school and in the Curriculum Committee as to the exact nature of these competencies and the exact definitions appropriate to each major or program at Philadelphia University.


Ø     Basic-level comprehension of the concepts, technologies and tools needed to conduct University-level research

Ø     Familiarity with the character of the academic library, and the role of the Library in the academic environment


The outcomes attributed to the sophomore year remain constant throughout the Junior and Senior years. Greater sophistication in demonstration that the students have mastered these skills is expected, as students progress through their various programs. The basic skills and expected outcomes to be demonstrated remain the same across these last 3-4 years of the undergraduate career.

Ø     Entry-level knowledge of the broad spectrum of available information resources

Ø     Formal introduction of information problem-solving skills and the Information Research Process

o      Skill in the location and access of information resources

o      Ability to critically evaluate both information sources themselves and the information drawn from these sources

o      Ability to apply appropriate information resources to an information problem

o      Ability to supply proper documentation and citation styles to information sources in a variety of formats

o      Ability to reflect on and assess the outcome of the Research Process

Ø     Basic-level familiarity with the literature of the students’ intended professions

Ø     Basic-level awareness of global ethical issues surrounding information access and information technology


Ø     Ability to effectively apply the Information Research Process to information problems

o      Increased flexibility and skill in identifying potential information resources

o      Knowledge of and confidence using an array of information resources, in a variety of formats

o      Ability to locate and access these resources, not just in Gutman Library, but in other libraries and information centers

o      Ability to recognize when to end active research and synthesize information into end-product

o      Ability to effectively assess the outcome of the Research Process, and effect improvement in subsequent research activities

o      Consistent application of proper citation and documentation, and knowledge of the ethical issues necessitating such actions

Ø     Advanced knowledge of the core publications and information resources appropriate to the students’ chosen professions

Seniors, 5th year Architecture students, continuing education, graduate students

Students at this level will have accrued the basic understanding of location and access issues, the research process, what critical thinking / evaluation of information are, 
citation / documentation, and that projects in this year will demonstrate these abilities.

Ø     Solid familiarity with applicable disciplinary resources

o      Knowledge of how the information pertaining to their professions is organized, packaged, disseminated

o      Ability to locate and access this information, regardless of format or ownership

o      Ability to identify a wide variety of potential information resources, and effectively investigate and evaluate the merits of each

Ø     Ability to conduct on-going self-assessment of the Research Process

Ø     Ability to self-correct during the stages of the Research Process

Ø     Ethically use information, and possess a global perspective on the ethical issues surrounding information access, use, and information technology



Last Updated 2/11

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